Seoul, Korea 2009
Recently, I returned to Japan from a 2-week vacation to Seattle to see my family and friends! The vacation to Seattle was a lot of fun and I’ll write about the highlights of that trip in another blog, but first I’d like to share my experiences from my 1-night layover in Seoul, South Korea! On my way to Seattle while flying Korean Airlines, I took a look around Seoul, the Korean capital and the largest city in South Korea. With a population of over 10 million people, Seoul is the economic, cultural and political center of Korea. Rushed for time, I checked into my hotel in Itaewon and took a quick stroll around the popular international district. Located near a U.S. Army base, Itaewon is densely packed with many diverse ethnic restaurants and is known for its nightlife. After consulting with many of my Japanese students who have been to Korea, it became evident that it was necessary to try some Korean barbeque. Similar to Japan, Koreans also enjoy sliced meat at barbeque restaurants with table grills. In Itaewon, I gave it a try and to no surprise it was good! I like that Koreans add several side dishes to enhance every meal, a little extra bang for your buck! Plus I’ve always been a fan of kimchi, Korea’s best known food. After eating, I headed to Dongdaemun Market. With no time to mess around with subways, I moved around by taxi, which are very cheap in Korea! Just whip out Korea’s largest bill, a 10,000 won and you should be good to go wherever $8.00 will take you… As you can imagine, I was rolling pretty phat with a wad of cash equivalent to very little! Dongdaemun Market was alright, but I was there just for the experience, so I wasn’t able to appreciate the bargains for shopping it’s famous for. There were some cool hip-hop dance groups performing though! The next day, I went to another famous market called Namdaemun Market. The open-air market’s history dates back to the Joseon Dyansty (1392 – 1910)… not to be confused with the Portland Dynasty (2001 – 2007)… and since, it has become the main place to exchange daily products between urban and rural areas of Korea. Finally, I stopped by Gyeongbokgung Palace, the oldest and most grandest of the five palaces of the Joseon Dynasty and had a chance to watch a Royal Guard Changing Ceremony!
Note: For a look at all my pictures in Korea, check out my Seoul, Korea 2009 picture album!